EDF Statement on the 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruling in Mexican Gulf Fishing Company v. Department of Commerce

March 1, 2023
Maddie Voorhees, (415) 293-6103, mvoorhees@edf.org

(WASHINGTON – March 1, 2023) The following statement was issued by Eric Schwaab, Senior Vice President of People and Nature at Environmental Defense Fund, in response to the recent decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the regulation governing the electronic monitoring program used by for-hire fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico:

“Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is disappointed in the recent decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the rule governing the electronic reporting and monitoring program for Gulf of Mexico charter fishermen. Over the last six years, charter business owners worked alongside NOAA Fisheries to develop and advance this innovative program to improve the sustainability of the resource and enhance access to fishing opportunities for the millions of anglers they take fishing every year. Support for the program was so widespread that in June 2022, Charter Fisherman’s Association (the largest charter organization in the Gulf of Mexico), along with Destin Charter Boat Association, Galveston Professional Boatman’s Association, Alabama Charter Fishing Association, Florida Guides Association, Ocean Conservancy, and EDF filed an amicus curiae brief in the 5th Circuit to uphold the innovative electronic reporting and monitoring program in the Gulf of Mexico.

The inability to adequately monitor fishing activity increases management uncertainty and adds economic instability to the fishery. For the sake of charter businesses across the Gulf, the families and customers they serve, and the next generation of anglers, EDF encourages NOAA Fisheries to work with the charter for-hire industry to seek collaborative solutions that maintain the necessary level of accountability and economic stability that the program was designed to achieve.”

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